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Posted to Financial Capability on 20-05-2015

Our competition to find a better way of describing the different stages of retirement drew a multitude of entries from the poignant to the playful.

Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell asked for your ideas to capture the changes to life, needs and lifestyle that occur over the 20-30 years that many people spend in retirement.

Our winner was Erica Whyte, from Lower Hutt, with:

Discovery: the time to have a go at all the things you’ve said you’d get around to ‘some day’.

Endeavour: time to choose the fun things, develop old skills, explore fresh talents and grow new friendships.

Reflection: a time when health and finances limit choice, to accept help graciously, to make the most of all those memories; to keep up with old friends because we hold each other’s history.

Erica Whyte 600

Erica Whyte, the competition winner

Erica is at the ‘discovery’ stage, looking forward to an overseas holiday to celebrate her birthday and enjoying more time to play the piano at sing-alongs and in a classical music group.

She said: “It’s lovely now to have the time to do it and the time to enjoy the arts generally. Living in Wellington, there’s so much to experience.”

There were two runners-up, Nicola Deacon from Auckland, and Liz Hunt, from Waikanae.

Liz came up with Can do; Might do; Used to.

She said: “I thought of my own experience and know that ‘can do’ is how I feel now. I hope that when I am in my 80s I still might be able to do some things.”

And Nicola suggested:

Investers (65-74): because they invest in themselves and others.

Divesters (75-84): because they simplify their lives and concentrate on what matters.

Resters (85+): because they have earned it.

Nicola’s parents enjoyed the ‘investers’ stage, but the ‘divester’ stage was much shorter than the family had expected, with her father passing away and her mother suffering ill health. A reminder that the stages are different for everyone.

She said: “It’s brought into clarity for me how important it is to keep your physical health as long as you can.”

The Retirement Commissioner said: “It was fantastic to see not just the number of entries but also the huge amount of thought that had gone into them.

“The team at the Commission were impressed, heartened and sometimes brought to tears by the humour and wisdom that came through.

“It’s a great reminder that our retirees are a major asset to New Zealand with a lot to contribute to discussions about the future.”

The winners will enjoy high tea at The Langham with Diane and Minister for Senior Citizens Maggie Barry.


Next: Music to your ears or singing the blues?

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